Multiscalar Narrative Identities: Individual and Nation, Europe and Eurasia


  • Chris Hann Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology



Eurasia, Bronisław Malinowski, Jack Goody, European narratives, narrative identities, Gemeinschaft, world society


The paper explores narratives of identity on multiple scales between the individual and the Eurasian landmass, taking the various identities of Cracow‑born anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski as a leitmotiv to illustrate the main arguments. Apart from being a cultural Pole and an Austrian (later British) subject, Malinowski was a typical European intellectual of his age. At the end of his life in the United States, he appealed to the values of European civilization to overcome the Nazi horrors. Subjectively he identified strongly with Poland, even though his career was built elsewhere. We could say that Poland was his Gemeinschaft. Although we can only speculate on what he would say today about neoliberal political economy and the construction of an ever more rigorously demarcated ‘Fortress Europe’, the author argues that Malinowski’s emphasis on the values of European civilization was ethnocentric. It is important to correct Eurocentrism by recognizing the commonalities of civilizations across the Eurasian landmass.


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Author Biography

Chris Hann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

Is one of two founding Directors of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology at Halle/Saale, Germany. He previously taught anthropology at Cambridge University and the University of Kent at Canterbury. Hann undertook field research in Hungary and Poland when these countries were still socialist, and continues to visit regularly; he has also worked in Anatolia (Black Sea Coast) and China (Xinji-ang ). At the Max Planck Institute he heads the department Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia. Hann is a Fellow of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.


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How to Cite

Hann, Chris. 2017. “Multiscalar Narrative Identities: Individual and Nation, Europe and Eurasia”. Politeja 14 (4(49):15-36.